After Motorola’s “Concubine”, why did the three-proof mobile phone gradually disappear?

Recently, a friend approached me to complain that the screen of the mobile phone I had just bought was broken, and it happened that I did not buy the broken screen insurance, so I finally reluctantly spent more than a thousand yuan to replace the screen.

In order to comfort him, I compared him with a miserable situation: I once broke the screen of Lenovo Music Phone twice, and broke the screen of iPhone 5s three times.

After chatting, I talked about the durability of mobile phones, and then talked about the topic of rugged mobile phones.

An interesting phenomenon is that when it comes to rugged mobile phones, most of the friends around will think of Motorola's Defy. In 2010, its birth once made the word rugged mobile phone popular.

▲ Picture from: android-mod

The deepest impression is that it combines the "three defenses" and "intelligence", and even has good performance, as well as a restrained and simple design.

▲ The arrival of Princess Diana broke people's impression of rugged mobile phones. Picture from: aroundandeverywhere

But unfortunately, after Di Fei, there is no more rugged mobile phone with the same popularity. In recent years, the popularity of rugged mobile phones seems to be getting lower and lower, and it is difficult to see them in mainstream reports.

When we are talking about rugged phones, what are we talking about?

In fact, there is no precise definition of "three defenses". Under the literal meaning, waterproof and dustproof are certain, but the other "proof" refers to a slightly different product for each product, such as scratch-proof, drop-proof, shock-proof and so on.

▲Picture from: tuffphones

Regarding waterproof and dustproof, the parameters we often hear are mainly represented by "IP+digital suffix". For example, Motorola Defy advertised that it had an IP67 protection level, which was extremely rare in the 2010 smartphone camp.

However, the advancement of mobile phone manufacturing technology has also made the definition of rugged mobile phones constantly changing. For example, Samsung's recently released Galaxy Xcover 5 can well represent the current three-proof mobile phone standards: IP68 protection level, MIL-STD810H certification.

IP68 is easy to understand. The first number after the IP is the solid particle protection level, which represents the product's ability to resist the ingress of external solid particles, that is, the "dust level", which is divided into 0-6 levels. The second number is the liquid protection level, which represents the product's ability to resist the ingress of external liquids, that is, the "waterproof level", which is divided into 0-8 levels.

However, a mobile phone with an IP68 waterproof and dustproof rating does not mean that it can be immersed in water indefinitely without damage as described in the table. Water temperature, water depth, and immersion time will all affect its water resistance. IP68 mobile phones generally can withstand 30 minutes in 1-2 meters of water.

Today, IP68 is no longer a rare parameter. Many flagship phones such as iPhone 12 and OPPO Find X3 Pro are marked as supporting IP68.

▲ iPhone 12 advertisement

For rugged mobile phones, this is tantamount to grabbing their jobs. So in order to save face, the rugged mobile phone began to move out of the MIL-STD810 standard as an endorsement.

Simply put, MIL-STD810 can be understood as a US military-grade standard. The 2019 revision is MIL-STD810H, which replaces the MIL-STD810G released in 2014.

To achieve this certification standard, it needs to go through a variety of reliability test items "destructive". It mainly includes three directions: mechanical, environmental and life reliability testing.

▲MIL-STD810 standard test. Picture from: laboratuar

For example, the drop test in the mechanical reliability test includes directional drop and free drop tests at multiple heights, and the number of drops is also strictly required. The ambient temperature test will give extreme temperature and air pressure conditions, and the mobile phone should work normally within these ranges.

In addition, military-grade standards also test unusual items such as noise, fluid pollution, solar radiation exposure, and sinusoidal vibration. Ensure that the product has stable performance in certain extreme scenarios.

▲MIL-STD810G test project. Picture from: aina-wireles

Reaching military standards is already a must-have selling point for rugged mobile phones today. In addition to IP68 and MIL-STD810 standards, certification indicators such as IP69K have also emerged in recent years.

The latter mainly refers to the mobile phone's ability to withstand the hot vapor washout test defined in EN 60529 and DIN 40050-9. This can provide protection at a water pressure of 100 bar (1450 psi) and a temperature of 80ºC.

In short, IP69K mainly refers to the pressure to protect the water from scouring.

▲Picture from: xenarc

When we flush the phone with a faucet, the water pressure is often relatively high, which is why there is a risk of water entering the IP68 mobile phone when flushing with water. IP69K is mainly a certification index born for this scenario.

Rugged mobile phones are so "indestructible" that they should be popular in theory. Why are they not as popular as before?

Simply put, one is the unpleasant appearance, and the other is the high price and low cost.

Three anti-mobile phones, why are they so ugly?

Rugged mobile phones are not good-looking. In fact, they are not exactly the designer's "pot". One major reason is the limitation of engineering materials.

Today, it is not difficult for mobile phones to be waterproof and dustproof. To achieve this goal, there are usually two options. One is to reduce the splicing of the fuselage, and then use waterproof rubber strips and sealing rings to block the gaps in the fuselage, which greatly increases the waterproof and dustproof capabilities of the fuselage.

▲ Picture from: phonesdata

This is the idea of ​​structural dustproof and waterproof. This sealing method also has many disadvantages. For example, the deformation of the rubber plugs on the earphone jack and the charging hole will damage the airtightness of the mobile phone, resulting in a decline in the ability to waterproof and dustproof.

This requires the help of nano waterproof technology. In simple terms, the surface of the device is coated with a layer of nano-polymer, and the liquid will condense into water droplets when it comes into contact with the coating. Therefore, if liquid flows into the device, it can be discharged quickly.

▲ Picture from: cnet

For rugged mobile phones, these two solutions will basically be used at the same time. Rubber plugs are installed on the charging hole and earphone hole of the fuselage. Although it is waterproof and sand-proof, it reduces the exquisiteness of the fuselage.

The appearance killer of the rugged mobile phone is the thick frame. In order to prevent falling, rugged mobile phones mostly use armor-type protection structure, the frame is made thick and large, and Bayer soft glue is used for the material to improve toughness.

▲ Picture from: agmdevice

Therefore, after meeting the above conditions, the three-proof mobile phone becomes thick and bulky. In the era of beauty in power, it is difficult to arouse the public's desire to buy.

If you want to be waterproof and dustproof, why don't consumers buy a mainstream IP68 mobile phone? Thin and stylish. If you add a silicone protective cover, you can also achieve the purpose of anti-fall. It can be said that the competitiveness of rugged mobile phones is not as good as before.

▲Picture from: slashgear

High price and low allocation, far more serious than expected

Although the competitiveness of rugged mobile phones is gradually declining, it is still a product that is difficult to replace for outdoor workers and enthusiasts.

Looking at the comment area of ​​Taobao’s top-ranked smart rugged mobile phones, you can roughly see the portraits of its users: takeaways, express delivery practitioners, outdoor sports enthusiasts, and truck drivers, etc.

These people have higher requirements for the durability of mobile phones, but they often ignore the performance of mobile phones. This gives manufacturers a loophole for high prices and low allocations.

Let's take the top-ranked models in the search results of e-commerce websites as an example. First look at the AGM X5 rugged mobile phone. If you have watched "Wolf Warrior" or "Operation Red Sea", you should have heard of this brand.

▲Picture from: agmdevice

The protagonist in "Wolf Warriors 2" uses AGM X2, and "Operation Red Sea" uses AGM X3. X5 is the latest model in this series. In order to prove the popularity of its products, AGM's official customer service stated that "for every 10 mobile phones in the world, 3 are AGM".

What is the basic configuration of the AGM X5 priced at 3699 yuan?

  • Processor: Ziguang Zhanrui T7510
  • Android 9
  • 6.53 inch 1080P water drop screen
  • 8GB+256GB
  • 5600mAh battery, 18W fast charge
  • 48 million pixel main camera + 8 million pixel ultra-wide angle + infrared background blur lens + macro lens (no sensor model announced)
  • Support IP68, IP69K, 810G certification

At 3699 yuan, there are many Qualcomm Snapdragon 888 and 870 models available on the market, but the AGM X5 is equipped with a thousand-yuan Ziguang Zhanrui T7510, which is really unreasonable.

▲ Configuration table of AGM X5. Picture from: agmdevice

Let’s take a look at the Doogee S96 Pro rugged phone, which is priced at 2,250 yuan and ranked third on the search results page. Its main configuration is as follows:

  • Processor: Helio G90
  • Android 10
  • 6.22 inch 720P water drop screen
  • 8GB+128GB
  • 6350mAh battery, 24W fast charge, 10W wireless charging
  • 48 million pixel main camera + 8 million pixel ultra wide angle + 20 million pixel night vision lens + 2 million pixel macro lens
  • Support IP68, IP69K

▲ Picture from: Doogee

As a rugged mobile phone, it does not support 810G certification, which has no advantage. In addition, judging from the running scores of AnTuTu, the performance of this Helio G90 chip is similar to that of Qualcomm Snapdragon 730, which belongs to the low-end camp. Its 6.22-inch screen is still using a 720P panel, which is a bit "fooling" consumers.

Make use of the parameters that the target group does not understand, and perform subtraction on the mobile phone configuration. This phenomenon of high price and low cost is common in mobile phones with the "three-proof" label.

Rugged mobile phones, is it possible to regain the glory?

If the three-proof mobile phone wants to capture the hearts of more C-end users, it is time to make a change.

There are three reasons why Motorola Defy went out of the circle at the time. First, the appearance is closer to the daily smart phone, the second is the mainstream configuration, the performance is impressive, and the third is the price is reasonable, and the student party can also accept it.

▲ Picture from: unwire

If a manufacturer can do these three points at the same time, then rugged mobile phones may once again enter the eyes of the public.

In fact, the AGM brand mentioned above was actually quite impressive when the X2 was launched in 2017. Not only because of the same version of Wu Jing in "Wolf Warrior 2," but also because its design can be regarded as a good face in a group of three-defense machines, and the configuration is also close to the Android mid-range model.

▲ AGM X2

However, it is a pity that the appearance design of the AGM follow-up model has gradually lost its former sense of refinement and beauty, and it is difficult to find a bright spot in the configuration.

In addition, as a vertical mobile phone, personalized functions or services are indispensable. For example, some rugged mobile phones do a good job in positioning functions, and support GPS+BDS Beidou or GPS+GLONASS dual-mode positioning. Accurate coordinate positioning can also be achieved when there is no card or signal, which is very friendly to outdoor users.

There are also some three-proof mobile phones that emphasize their own explosion-proof technology and have passed the chemical IIC-level explosion-proof safety certification, which is suitable for employees of chemical companies.

Another example is SF Express cooperating with our company. The rugged mobile phone it uses is equipped with a TOF lens. Taking a photo of the express package can quickly calculate the volume and cost, replacing the traditional PDA scanning gun.

This is like the physical shoulder button on a gaming phone, which has obvious scene attributes. However, gaming phones have grown into a branch that cannot be ignored in smart phones due to their strong performance, cool appearance, and rich dessert functions.

Rugged mobile phones, which are also vertical products, may be able to carefully study the rise of gaming phones. Those outdoor workers and enthusiasts deserve better products.

Tell simple and easy-to-read stories. Work email: [email protected].

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